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Berlusconi Crony: Is This Italy’s New Culture Minister?

Sandro Bondi

According to Louis Godart, advisor on culture to Italian president Giorgio Napolitano, Sandro Bondi (above) is likely be named that country’s new minister of culture, succeeding the high-profile activist, Francesco Rutelli. Bondi is head of Forza Italia, the political party of Silvio Berlusconi, the recently elected prime minister.

Rutelli is not only losing his post
as Italy’s notably successful repatriator of cultural property (as well as that country’s deputy prime
minister). He also just lost the election
runoff for a job he had held previously—mayor of Rome. He will stay in politics, however, as a member of the Senate.

Rome’s new
mayor-elect is Gianni Alemanno, who beat Rutelli with 54% of the vote,  Elisabetta Povoledo of the NY Times reports that Alemanno is the city’s “first rightist mayor since World War II.”

Causing consternation is this report from Rome by John Hooper of Great Britain’s Guardian:

On Monday night, the area around Rome’s city hall rang to chants of
“Duce! Duce!”, the term adopted by Italy’s dictator, Benito Mussolini,
equivalent to the German “Führer”. Supporters of the new mayor gave the
fascist Roman straight-arm salutes.

Alemanno, however, has
promised to be the mayor of all Romans. He yesterday sent telegrams to
both the Pope and the Chief Rabbi. Rome’s Jewish community was shaken
by the prospect of a mayor with Alemanno’s record.

Alemanno was once a neo-fascist youth leader. One of his first acts as Rome’s new mayor was to declare that “[Richard] Meier‘s building is a construction to be scrapped.” He was referring to the architect’s controversial 2006 Ara Pacis museum, a modern enclosure for the 2,000-year-old altar commissioned by Roman Emperor Augustus. (Scroll down at the above link for a slideshow of the Meier project.) It looks like Alemanno’s been reading too much Nicolai Ouroussoff, not enough Joseph Giovannini.

Where’s the Great Repatriator when we really need him?

Francesco Rutelli speaking with Philippe de Montebello in three languages, during a visit to the Metropolitan Museum, November 2006

an ArtsJournal blog